H&M's vision for the store of the future is minimalist, curated, and pricey – everything that the original H&M is not.
Its new concept store, which was unveiled in November 2017 in one of its existing locations in Sweden, is the antithesis of a typical H&M store. Shoppers come in to shop its limited collection of clothing, have a coffee in the store, or even take a yoga class.
While this is currently the only H&M store of its kind, it's telling of where the company believes retail is headed. It's a very different direction from what we see in the rest of its often chaotic and cluttered fleet of stores.
Once the king of fast fashion, H&M has stumbled in recent years and lost out to more nimble online players such as ASOS and Boohoo, which have cut down supply-chain times and swooped in to poach customers. As a result, sales growth at H&M has slowed. It has also battled with a mountain of unsold inventory and seen its stock price slump.
One of H&M's key areas of success has been its sister brands, specifically Cos, which is the second-largest brand in the company's portfolio and is focused on better-quality but higher-cost clothing.
The overlap between Cos and its concept store is far greater than at its own H&M brand, signifying that Cos may have become the model for H&M stores of the future.
Take a look around H&M's concept store below:
Cos has become one of the more successful areas of H&M's business. In a six-month report for the period from December 2016 to May 2017, H&M CEO Karl-Johan Persson said that Cos' profitability is in line with H&M despite having 95% fewer stores.
"After talking to the customers, we've been wanting to create a warmer and more personal feeling," Anna Tillberg, head of The Laboratory, H&M's innovation think tank that is developing the new concept, told Reuters.
In April, it launched a new, millennial-focused brand called Nyden, which professes to be "affordable luxury." This brand operates online and via pop-ups, rolling out a limited collection of clothing in small batches.
Also from Business Insider South Africa: